August Market Update

The word on the street is prices are going to collapse…the market is overheated…a recession is coming…we are in a housing bubble. It’s mayhem if you believe everything you read and listen to what the non-experts have to say about the real estate market and the current market we are experiencing.  Quick question. Did you know that 50% of REALTORS have a second job?  Working with a true full-time professional who is up to date on the local Northern Virginia real estate market is more important today than ever before.  You need to have the guidance, advice, and experience to be guided seamlessly through the real estate transaction, so you are protected.  Don’t rely or believe everything you read on the internet.  Call me instead because here are the facts.

Prices – barring an unforeseen event, they are stable in Northern Virginia and will remain this way. Why?  Because our prices have risen only slightly each year after the Great Recession (bar a few examples/areas). We don’t have lending practices in place any longer that allow buyers to buy without strong fundamentals in place and allowing unqualified purchasers to outbid on properties at extreme prices.

The market is overheated – this is not true in all areas of Northern Virginia. Yes, there are areas of Arlington and in certain price points where inventory is extremely low that there are multiple offers but overall, we have seen this trend slow in recent months. Remember, what you read today typically happened 2-4 months ago as stats on the market don’t immediately get released and are reflective of current trends. Every market is different, and this is why you need specific advice on your property if you are selling or if you are considering purchasing a home.

A recession is coming – yes, it is true as we have been in the longest recovery in our history.  All markets are cyclical so a recession will come. What does this mean for housing? It is typically a good thing…interest rates are lowered to stimulate the economy and barring the Great Recession, since 1995 when we have had economic slowdowns, prices have appreciated 81% of the time which is the same as when we have had economic expansion. Don’t fear the word recession and real estate values.

We are in a housing bubble – not true for our area. Prices have not skyrocketed like they have in other areas of the country, as previously mentioned, our prices have only moderately increased year over year. Our inventory of resale homes is 22% below last year’s level and 33% below inventory levels two years ago. Our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country. Our salaries are stable to slightly rising meaning people have good-paying jobs.

Lastly, the interest environment we are in is making housing more affordable – rates are low and are going lower. 30-year fixed rates are in the mid to high 3’s (percent) today. There are many refinances that are taking place and there will be more to come so these people will be staying in their houses for a while and will be potential, future landlords which will keep the housing inventory tight moving forward.  This too will keep our market out of a crisis in my opinion.

Again, barring an unforeseen event, we will be in a strong real estate environment for some time here in Northern Virginia.  We actually need more houses to sell as there is pent up demand. If you are considering a move of any kind, please call me today to learn more. I can be reached at scottmacdonald@remax.net or 703-652-5777.

July Market Update

Mid Year Update

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It is hard to believe we are already halfway through 2019. The two questions that I have are; where does the time go and where is the housing inventory? The number of houses in Northern Virginia remains extremely low – 20% below last year and nearly 33% from two years ago. The inventory with the lowest levels is in the first-time home buyer price range which is basically houses and condos priced below $350,000. At the time of this newsletter, there are only 717 properties for sale in all of Northern Virginia at this price point. These homes are flying off the market with an absorption rate resulting in a .75 month’s supply of housing. As such, we are seeing multiple offers as there just not enough supply for the number of buyers in this market. To climb the pricing ladder, we will see the month’s supply and inventory rise. As a comparison, houses priced between $350,000 and $500,000 have a .83 month’s supply with only 872 houses for sale. The $500,000 and $750,000 priced houses have a 1.2 month’s supply with 1,252 currently on the market. Both of these numbers are low, historically speaking, so don’t be alarmed if you are thinking of selling your house. Where we see the market slowing is in the $750,000 and above price point. In this price point, we have over a 3 month’s supply of inventory with 1,683 houses for sale. This is obviously a larger price range but shows the higher you go, the longer it takes to sell. I have mentioned many times if a house isn’t compelling – it isn’t selling and the best way to make it compelling is price. If you are considering selling in any of these price points, please call me to learn how to best position your house to sell for the most money in the least amount of time.

So, what does it mean for buyers? There are opportunities in the market to own but you need to be strategic in doing so in every price point. It is important to utilize the services of a professional to negotiate for you to get you into the home you desire. If you are considering becoming a homeowner for the first time or if you are moving up or down, give me a call to learn how this can be done for you.

Have a very Happy 4th of July and please be safe!

June Market Update

The Summer Market is Upon Us!

It is hard to believe we are already through the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Time is really flying this year – at least it seems that way to me. Kids are home from college, summer jobs have started, weekend pool parties are in full swing and the real estate market is just as busy as it has been all year. Let’s start with the amazing mortgage interest rates that continue to tumble downward. They are now well into the threes for 30-year fixed rates and are expected to go down even further. This makes now a great time to buy a home! It can still be a challenge to find the right house, as inventory levels remain extremely low – 19% below last year this same week and nearly 30% below what was on the market two years ago. What is also amazing is that sales are up with inventory levels being down. Through April (latest available data point), there was one more sale this year than last year…one more is one more than before. I believe that interest rates will continue to foster sales through the summer as inventory will come on the market. Let’s talk about your plans if you are considering selling – we can position you properly to take advantage of today’s market.

All this being said, the market is not good to all sellers. The reason for this is some sellers are under the belief that their property will sell regardless of price and condition. We are seeing a lot of unrealistic prices on properties, as well as houses in disrepair or in need of substantial work to get the prices sellers are asking. We have seen average prices up over last year by 2.75% which is great, but it is not 2.75% per month like some sellers are pricing their houses at today (and “hoping” to get for them).

From a buyer’s prospective, we are still in a price conscience market. Buyer’s are concerned about paying too much and are analyzing prices closely, especially if they are using a professional REALTOR and not the internet to help them buy a house. The internet is not the way to buy a house today or anytime. The guidance and expertise of a real estate professional is more important today than ever before. If you are considering buying, we should talk sooner rather than later so give me a call.

Have a great June – enjoy the graduation parties!

May Market Update

I’m Still Amazed…

The real estate market never ceases to amaze me. We have weeks, months and years where sales go up and down, prices go up and down, inventory goes up and down, but now, we are dealing with people’s emotions going way up and way down – including real estate agents. The lack of inventory in some areas have resulted in buyers losing out multiple times on their home of choice. They become frustrated and make irrational decisions on prices, terms or location. These decisions will have an impact on their financial lives as well as their quality of life (including potentially longer commutes). When clients lose out on offers multiple times, agents get frustrated too, either because the clients don’t listen on how to position themselves or with other agents believing they were treated unfairly during the negotiations. This is why it is imperative to work with an experienced agent to help you navigate through this emotional time in real estate. An agent that has been there before, understands what is going on and can provide the right advice so you (or someone you know looking to buy) get the proper guidance and the house you want – without getting tied up in the emotion adding stress to the situation. Well, guess what? I have been through these types of turbulent, emotional times and I can lead you or someone you know through these situations, just call me.  I will help everyone stay calm and focused on the eventual task which is getting the house sold.

Keeping with the amazement theme, we still have very low inventory levels – 20% below last year’s levels. This is creating the type of market I just mentioned. Unfortunately, sellers are not immune to the emotions of selling. Unrealistic expectations of timing, pricing and response times from buyers/buyer agents make for stressful times during selling. It is important to have the right expectations when selling a house, mostly to keep the seller on an even keel. Once again, I am here to help provide the right advice, guidance and emotional balance to get you through the home selling process, just give me a call. I am happy to help!

Have a great Memorial Day!

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March Market Update

The Spring Market has Arrived!

The Spring Market has sprung into action! Although inventory levels are down, activity on listings is up, open house visitors are abundant and multiple contracts on listings are happening more frequently throughout Northern Virginia. In Arlington and close in locations, we are seeing contingencies getting waived and huge escalation clauses for buyers to win contracts. It is a good sign for our market to have such great activity and I expect it to continue for the next few months.

All this being said, pricing properties properly is still paramount to success in getting houses sold. Along the Route 1 corridor close to Amazon’s HQ2 people are definitely “future pricing” their houses. Their hopes to cash in are not bearing any fruit and I don’t believe this pricing strategy is going to get them sales any time soon. At this time, pinpoint accuracy in pricing is the strategy to undertake. Do not price for negotiations. Do not price higher because the neighbor received multiple contracts (as not all listings with multiple contracts are going above list price as I mentioned last month’s newsletter).

If you are a buyer, do not despair, we can help you find a house even in the low inventory market dynamic that we are currently experiencing. Although we are below 3,000 active houses for sale in Northern Virginia, the pace of houses coming on the market for sale is increasing each week. We also have access to “Coming Soon” properties through our network of professionals whom we deal with on a regular basis. Having someone scout out properties for you before they officially hit the market is extremely important, so please feel free to call me to discuss this in more detail.

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead this month and get out there and enjoy the longer days!

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Scott’s Market Minute 2/22/19

It seems like Groundhog Day all over again….inventory levels are STILL low! And so are interest rates! Find out more in Scott’s latest Market Minute Message.

Looking to buy or sell? Now may be the best time for you to do so. Give me a call to talk more about your situation 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

February Market Update

Will the Spring Market Arrive Sooner than Later?

What an interesting January we have experienced both weather-wise and in the real estate business. We have golfed and we have shoveled snow/ice this month.  We have had multiple contracts on some houses, and we have had houses sitting on the market (with no showings) for days and even weeks. We have had mild temperatures and we have had epically cold days. We have had 30 plus people at open houses on weekends and we have had no visitors at others.  We have windy days and days that had no breezes. We have seen mortgage interest rates go up and now they are at yearly lows. And, like the temperatures this week, we have seen inventory levels drop to 14-year lows. As I said, it was a very interesting January.

The biggest question we have in the real estate industry is… When will more houses come on the market for sale? Historically we have seen houses start go up for sale the second week of February. So, will this year be the same or will we continue along the same path we are on now…inventory levels going down? The answer is, time will tell.  In conversations with agents across our five offices, we are hearing about some houses will be “coming soon” but not a significant number of them. If you are considering selling, this could be your perfect time to do so.

What is odd to me, and others, is prices are not escalating like you might expect. The tried and true economic theory of supply and demand in regard to pricing does not apply in this market. We have a lack of supply and LOTS of demand, but prices are staying relatively flat and, in some situations, we are even seeing price reductions fairly regularly. Additionally, in several multiple contract situations, we have not seen escalation clauses or even full price offers. Going back to my original sentence, it was an interesting January.

All this being said, we can provide you with the right advice on how you should approach this “interesting” market. Whether you are selling or buying a home, each market and personal situation is different.  So, give me a call to learn more.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Scott’s Market Minute 2/1/19

I’ve been talking about it for a while now…. the inventory levels are still at an epic low! Thinking of selling in the spring? Don’t wait ..learn more in Scott’s latest Market Minute Message. #remaxgateway #northernvirginia #realestate

Give me a call to talk about your unique situation 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

Scott’s Market Minute 1/18/19

The temperature is dropping (again)… so is inventory (again). So how low will it go? Inventory is needed, now is the time to sell. Learn more in my latest Market Minute Message.

If you would like to talk about your buying or selling needs, give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net